Innovative Teaching with the Technology Learning Center

March 18, 2019
TLC provides academic technology support

For his Structural Biology class, Associate Professor of Biology Eugene Wu assigned students to pick a protein and tell a scientific story about it using a three-dimensional representation. “The product could be a 3D print or a virtual or augmented reality experience incorporated into a two-dimensional slideshow,” says Wu. To show them what is possible with today’s technology, Wu asked the CTLT’s Andrew Bell and the Technology Learning Center’s Melissa Foster to show the students the capabilities of the TLC in 3D representations. The students then work in pairs to create a presentation that incorporates a 3D print or VR, in collaboration with TLC staff. “The students really embraced the adoption of 3D in their presentations and made strong efforts to add novel elements. The products were all excellent and innovative,” says Wu.

TLC logo

This is just one example of the academic work that’s possible through the resources and services of the Technology Learning Center, or TLC, located on the third floor of Boatwright Memorial Library. Recently, the Collegian featured an article on a project for Professor of Mathematics Della Dumbaugh, whose students engaged with the TLC to create a website for her Explorations in American Mathematics course. Students worked in teams to create “installments, or smaller sections of a research paper, to present to the class every week.” Mark Nichols, Manager of Academic Computing Services, helped the students use ArcGIS software on the spatial creation of each installment.

“It was a great idea, a really interesting topic and a great collaboration between Della and her students and the technology of ArcGIS online,” Nichols said. According to the Collegian, “Dumbaugh said the multi-media creation and presentations had brought a different kind of thinking to the students who were mostly math majors or minors. “

The Technology Learning Center provides not only the hardware and software students need to create multimedia projects: the TLC is staffed by students trained in a variety of technologies, who can help faculty and students navigate their projects, whether the work is 3D printing, virtual reality, spatial representation, or other forms of multimedia. The TLC is also open and staffed until midnight most days of the week, when students want to work.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies Sonja Bertucci says, “At the TLC, my students can check out equipment for their film projects (as a very welcome supplement to the equipment I have at my disposal for my Introduction to Film Production), but I also use the equipment (mostly the DSLRs + tripods) for teaching demonstrations in my own classes when I teach in Adams Auditorium. The student workers are very efficient and very accommodating.”

Professor of Psychology Scott Allison worked with the TLC to have his students create books that will be available on Amazon for his Social Psychology class. The students are working in teams of three. Scott explains, “Their assignment is to use theory and research in psychology to solve any major world problem of their choice. Each member of a team is writing a 20-page paper (10 pages of theory and 10 pages of application of the theory).  So the books will be 60 Word pages long and must include 10 images.” Melissa Foster and student worker Jay Do led two Adobe InDesign workshops for Scott’s students. “The workshops were clear and professional, directly targeting my students most pressing needs.” In April, the TLC will provide one-on-one support to students with their InDesign projects, answering questions that come up as the students work to complete their book assignments.

Sonja Bertucci praises the TLC: “All in all, I believe the presence of TLC is invaluable; they have a wonderful team and I am looking forward to exploring further opportunities for collaboration with them.” Faculty interested in incorporating multimedia components to their classes are encouraged to contact the Technology Learning Center by email, at